The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), the organisation responsible for delivering the infrastructure required for football’s 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, has partnered with medical research institution Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar.

A team of clinical researchers will examine the health of the construction staff working on World Cup projects. They will assess workers’ health, diets, and general awareness of the importance of nutrition, as well as evaluating current nutritional intake and identifying prevalent health challenges among workers.

Three stages of a pilot program, which will initially target a random sample of 1,000 workers on SC projects, will be broken down into a health check and reporting phase, an awareness and training campaign, and finally a catering enhancement and reporting phase.

During the first phase, Weill will compile a report on the findings of the prevalence of health-related issues, including but not limited to: hypertension (high blood pressure); blood glucose; kidney function; hydration status; body measurements; grip strength and respiratory parameters. It will then present recommendations for phases two and three.

The second phase will entail Weill educating a sample of 1,000 workers on the benefits of healthy lifestyles and balanced diets. It will also discuss the need to provide nutritious food options for workers with key stakeholders.

Finally, Weill will work with contractors and catering suppliers to recommend nutritional food options for the sample of 1,000 workers via revised food options within their worksites and accommodation.

A detailed report will summarise the outcomes, impact and key findings of the programme.

Dr. Shahrad Taheri, a professor of medicine and assistant dean for clinical investigations, and Dr. Odette Chagoury, associate director of clinical research, will lead the research team from Weill.

Taheri said: “Nutrition plays a vital role in an individual’s health and even small changes to diet can make a huge difference to overall wellbeing. The impact of this initiative, both on the short and long-term health of workers associated with SC construction projects, could be huge, particularly if, as we hope, the findings are taken on board by other companies and international businesses operating in Qatar.”

The SC currently has eight construction sites underway across Qatar and just over 10,000 workers on-site at any given time.

The number of workers engaged on SC construction projects is expected to rise to 36,000 in the next 12 months as various projects approach completion or the main works stage, with Khalifa International Stadium expected to be finished in the second quarter of 2017. The Al Wakrah and Qatar Foundation stadiums are both on track for completion dates in 2018.

Conditions for workers at the eight venues set to stage 2022 World Cup matches have come under scrutiny over recent years. In January, a British man died whilst working on the Khalifa International Stadium.

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